"It was imprudent of us, in the first place, to become authors. We could have become something regular, but we managed not to.
We were lucky, but we were also determined." Roy Blount Jr

"I don’t change the facts to enhance the drama. I think of it the other way round, the drama has got to fit the facts,
and it’s your job as a writer to find the shape in real life."
Hilary Mantel

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Last night, while Roland was active, I flimed him.

Without a point of reference, you can't tell how very tiny he is. When his body is extended, he might be 2 inches long, perhaps less. He's about the size of my little finger, which at 2 inches seems to me on the small side...for a human pinkie and a vole.

Here he is eating, his favourite activity apart from sleeping and scurrying. He pulls down blades of grass and gnaws them.

I've learnt quite a lot about meadow voles. They are common and numerous all over North America. They are herbivores. (Any gardener plagued by voles already knows that!) They are short-lived in the wild, about 154 days, because of so many predators--raptors, canids, cats. In captivity they could live 1-3 years. They are sex fiends. The roving male is rapaciously sexual. The females have numerous litters each year and abandon the weanlings very quickly.

We have voles on our property, lots of them...I rarely see the animals but often their burrows, especially in winter on the snowpack or in soft ground in springtime. Because our habitat offers all the grass and seeds they could possibly want, they don't trouble my bulbs or shrubs.

I want to make sure Roland is healthy and self-sufficient before releasing him. On examination, I see that he's lame in his right back leg--it's entirely useless. Perhaps the circulation was cut off. Gilbert the chipmunk's lame leg healed itself beautifully. Roland's injury doesn't slow him down a bit, and I assume he uses his front paws for tunnelling. So I don't think his injury decreases his chance of survival in the wild.

The temperatures will be going down into the 20's later this week, then moderate a bit. Can't put Roland out on the coldest of nights, so I'll be closely monitoring the forecasts.

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